Norwegian outdoor clothing brand Helly Hansen has inked a definitive agreement to acquire British specialist clothing brand Musto from Phoenix Equity Partners and other shareholders in a move that enhances its presence in the UK outdoor market and boosts its growth strategy.

The transaction, which Helly Hansen says will make it a "global leader" in professional sailing apparel, builds on the company's long-term growth strategy which was developed in early 2015. The scheme is based on the ethos that "Helly Hansen makes professional grade gear to help people stay and feel alive" and taps into the brand's 140-year Norwegian heritage.

Over the last three years, Helly Hansen has successfully invested in brand and product development, while focusing its core product offering and enhancing distribution channels, resulting in growth well ahead of the market.

Now, the company says the Musto acquisition enhances this by providing a differentiated product offering that will operate alongside Helly Hansen as a premium specialist brand.

As part of the deal, Helly Hansen will invest in Musto's international growth ambitions as well as deepen its technological and sourcing capabilities. Peter Smith, CEO of Musto, will continue to lead the business, and report to Paul Stoneham, CEO of Helly Hansen, who will also become executive chairman of Musto.

"Musto accelerates Helly Hansen's long-term aspiration to become a global leader in sailing, matching our leadership position in professional skiing," explains Stoneham. "Our focus will be to expand Musto internationally as an iconic British lifestyle brand with deep technical sailing credentials alongside Helly Hansen. The two brands are highly complementary and hold in common a deep regard for the sailing community and commitment to preserving our oceans."

Established in 1964, Musto is a British apparel and footwear brand that produces technical performance clothing, luggage and accessories for sailing.

"This is an incredibly exciting next phase in Musto's evolution and we are invigorated by the prospect of working with a business as complementary to our own as Helly Hansen," adds Smith. "We look forward to leveraging Helly Hansen's global network and R&D capabilities, as we grow our market-leading position in sailing, country and outdoor apparel."